012815top pix1Editor’s Commentary

An article published in Urban Milwaukee entitled, “Streetcar Responses Shows Wide Support”, illustrates clearly the lost opportunity being ignored by Black elected officials to show the power they have as representatives of their community.

The number of responses that Black alderpersons received in a survey published in this article about the streetcar, clearly shows that if these black elected officials were truly dedicated to standing against the current conditions of hypersegregation, poverty and high rates of incarceration of Black people that exist in Milwaukee, now would be the time to make that statement.

In addition, a January 5, 2015 Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) memo showed that Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), Wisconsin’s largest public education system where the students attending are predominantly Black, will be on the hook for about $40 million tax dollars to help pay for the streetcar. However, the city took exception to the memo releasing their response to the LRB memo on January 8, 2015 arguing that the LRB misinterpreted the tax that will be taken.

Still, whatever tax formula or interpretation the city wishes to argue about what type of tax that will go towards paying for the streetcar, one thing is certain, tax dollars are being spent on building the streetcar, not going towards educating Black children.

So you see, while the mayor wants to bet on Milwaukee’s future, he is doing so using tax revenue once earmarked to educate Black children, risking their future as he places his bet.

And what are Black Alderpersons getting in return for their streetcar vote? What’s the pay off for the Black community to allow the mayor to syphon off education money from the city’s predominately Black public school system?


That’s why now would be the time to tell the mayor and all the developers supporting this streetcar that business as usual in Milwaukee cannot continue.

The time to strike would be now. Voting against this streetcar is the strongest possible message to send to the status quo covert segregationists that economic apartheid against Black people ends.

Now is the time to strike by voting against them for the years of incarcerating black people for minor drug charges and unchecked police brutality.

What other opportunity presents itself in the future than now?  Voting to end their profit from the construction of the streetcar unless they present a twenty year plan of prosperity for the Black community is fair trade for the Black vote.

Unless, Black elected officials are in it only for themselves, then doing the mayor’s bidding for a favor in return later makes sense. Shame.